Adderall is a prescription stimulant that acts on the central nervous system (CNS). This brand-name drug is designed to reduce hyperactivity, improve focus, and extend a person’s attention span. Adderall is commonly prescribed for conditions like narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Although Adderall is effective in these applications, long-term use of this drug often leads to dependency. Unfortunately, it’s incredibly common for people to misuse Adderall in order to get high, achieve a heightened state of alertness, or lose weight. If you’ve been using Adderall for an extended period of time, you may find it difficult to stop on your own.
Suddenly stopping Adderall frequently leads to a number of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Often referred to as an “Adderall crash”, Adderall withdrawal can leave people feeling depressed, sluggish, and irritable. Adderall withdrawal can also cause panic attacks, insomnia, and even suicidal thoughts and tendencies. Thus, when you’re ready to quit taking Adderall, it’s important to do so with help. Detoxing from Adderall in a professional rehab facility will make the withdrawal process both safer and more comfortable all-around.
What Is Adderall?
Adderall is a combination of equal parts dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. Both amphetamine and dextroamphetamine lower impulsivity and heighten a person’s focus. This drug was approved by the FDA in 1996 and has since been used to address:
- Bipolar disorder
- Attention deficit disorder (ADD)
and many other conditions. Some physicians prescribe it for off-label uses that have not yet been approved by the FDA. For instance, given that stimulants have powerful, appetite-suppressing abilities, Adderall is sometimes prescribed for those who are morbidly obese and have been unable to achieve significant weight loss through other means. Due to its potential to cause dependency, Adderall is classified as a controlled substance.
Is Adderall Addictive?
Adderall is addictive when people take more of this drug than their doctors have prescribed. Using Adderall for a longer period of time than a physician has recommended, taking a higher than prescribed dose, or purchasing Adderall illegally are all actions that greatly increase the likelihood of addiction. People who use Adderall for the ongoing treatment of diagnosed health issues often find that the effects of this drug decrease over time. As resistance is built, many patients start increasing their doses on their own in order to produce the same feelings of normalcy that Adderall once supplied. Taking more Adderall than a doctor has recommended can additionally produce feelings of euphoria and relaxation. It is this sense of euphoria that people are often seeking when purchasing Adderall illegally or using this drug in other non-medical ways.
There are many drug interactions that are known to increase the risk of Adderall dependency. For example, if you use both Adderall and:
- Blood pressure medication
- Blood-thinning drugs
- Anti-seizure medications
you’re at an elevated risk of becoming addicted. Taking Adderall while using over-the-counter antacids can have this effect as well.
Overusing Adderall or misusing it in any other way can have serious consequences. In 2017 alone, there were more than 17,000 Adderall-related, emergency room visits. Not only are those who abuse this drug at risk of both dependency and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, but they can also experience:
- Serious cardiovascular issues
- Sexual side effects
- Sudden death
To limit the likelihood of dependence and to minimize the potential effects of long-term use, doctors often prescribe this drug at the lowest possible dose. Moreover, when prescribing ADHD, ADD, or bipolar medications for people with known substance use disorders, many physicians opt to prescribe non-stimulant medications instead.
According to one 2016 study, Adderall abuse is most common among young adults ages 18 to 25. More often than not, these are people who are getting Adderall from their friends or family members or purchasing it illegally. In fact, this demographic is estimated to account for approximately 60 percent of all non-medical Adderall use.
Symptoms of Withdrawal From Adderall
Commonly, the first and most noticeable symptom of Adderall withdrawal is an intense and persistent craving for this drug. After an extended period of Adderall use, many people are unable to feel normal without it.
As with other stimulants, the effects of Adderall withdrawal can also include both excessive sleepiness and sporadic bouts of insomnia. When sleep does occur, people may be plagued by vivid and disturbing dreams. These and other sleep troubles commonly associated with Adderall withdrawal eventually result in extreme fatigue, chronically low energy, and dramatic decreases in focus. As such, the very same issues with impulsivity and lack of concentration that Adderall was initially prescribed to treat could be greatly enhanced during abstinence.
Panic attacks are also common during Adderall withdrawal. In fact, many people develop phobias while detoxing. They can also experience:
- Significant increases in their appetites
- Unusual body aches and pains
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Feelings of worthlessness
Many people additionally report feeling excessively shy, mentally sluggish, and reticent to communicate with others. When detoxing alone, these and other developments can make it difficult to reach out for help, even when it’s desperately needed. People who attempt to detox from Adderall “cold turkey” may spend long periods of time in isolation while battling severe depression and suicidal tendencies.
How Long Do Symptoms Last?
The physical effects of Adderall withdrawal typically last between seven to 10 days after you stop taking the drug. During the first three days of detoxing, you’ll likely contend with exhaustion, sleep troubles, increased hunger, and general disorientation. By day four, you may begin having vivid nightmares and intense body aches. Although these and many other withdrawal symptoms usually abate after just two weeks, certain symptoms of the Adderall withdrawal timeline can linger for months. These include mood swings, intense cravings for Adderall, and fatigue.
Adderall’s impact on the body’s CNS can lead to prolonged psychological withdrawal symptoms. One of the most significant effects that this drug has on brain functioning is the alteration of normal dopamine production. Because natural dopamine production can significantly decline with long-term Adderall use, recovering addicts may have a hard time coping with stress in any form. This can be especially true during the earliest stages of the detox process when stress is typically at its highest. For someone who’s used Adderall heavily and for an extended period of time, it can take up to three months for many psychological and emotional withdrawal symptoms to abate.
Coping and Relief From Adderall Withdrawal
Research has shown that there are no medications that are capable of treating Adderall withdrawal symptoms. As such, it’s necessary for people to simply cope with them. However, in a professional rehab center, you’ll have access to various interventions, therapies, and strategies for mitigating your discomfort. You’ll have around-the-clock support to help you work through your symptoms. Rehab professionals can assist you in:
- Maintaining a balanced and nutrient-dense diet that promotes healing
- Establishing good sleep hygiene
- Engaging in effective stress management activities
In addiction treatment, it’s always important for people to learn more about why they started abusing Adderall. For many patients, rehab is an opportunity to find safer and more sustainable strategies for treating issues such as narcolepsy, ADD, ADHD, or bipolar disorder among others. People can explore their options in non-stimulant medications, and they can learn a number of natural management techniques. Finding ways to safely and successfully manage underlying or co-occurring issues helps limit the risk of relapse after Adderall withdrawal has ended.
Professional detox services also place recovering addicts in a safe, secure environment that’s absolutely temptation-free. This can be incredibly beneficial during times when cravings are at their highest. It’s also helpful for those dealing with severe depression, feelings of worthlessness, and suicidal thoughts or tendencies. In rehab, you’ll always have knowledgeable and compassionate professionals to talk to. You’ll also be surrounded by people who are facing similar challenges and have similar goals for recovery.
If you’ve been using Adderall and are worried that you’re now dependent, it’s important to have a solid plan for the detox process. With the right support, you can establish a stable foundation for your recovery. Call us today to learn more about our options in addiction treatment and supervised detox services. Our counselors can help you find a safe and comfortable way to stop using Adderall and reclaim your freedom and overall health.